A Place to Bury Strangers
DEAD OCEANS 11.6.12
Shall we take a trip down memory lane? The year is 1985 – as a fairly clueless teenager I’d been under the delusion that the likes of Duran Duran were ‘cool’. But a revelation appears in this week’s edition of Smash Hits magazine – a live review of a band that very quickly re-defines that word for me. They wear black leather and shades (even indoors!) have surly looks on their spotty faces, and perform riotous 15 minute long gigs. The music is a cacophony of feedback – but with great tunes underneath.
That band was of course The Jesus and Mary Chain and New York noise-niks A Place to Bury Strangers were quite obviously also big fans. First track ‘Alone’ comes roaring out of the speakers like the jet engines alluded to on the press release - deep, distorted vocals are kept low in the mix, and the track builds to a colossal rush of noise before ending abruptly after only two minutes.
‘Dissolved’ is a strange one – a kind song of two halves where the first part is a glacier-paced piece of atmospherics before then morphing into a jaunty (for them anyway) coda of joyously pinging guitars. For the start of ‘Revenge’ you’ll be ashamed to hear that I had to turn the stereo down 3 or 4 notches for fear of an impending head ache from the squealing feedback. I must be getting old.
Given that over the last 50-odd years everything that can be done with music has probably already been done to some extent, and with the amount of music we’re exposed to nowadays it seems unlikely that today’s youngsters will fully experience that thrill of something entirely new and essentially life changing.
So although this album is good at what it does, I can’t help feeling that it’s a distinct reworking of something that’s already been done to death. And second/third/fourth time around the effect is inevitably watered down.
As for that gormless teen - you’ll be relieved to hear that I dropped Smash Hits not long after and moved on to the NME and Sounds and all the wonderful possibilities that they opened up.